Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment
AuthorDobbinson, SJ; Simmons, J; Chamberlain, JA; MacInnis, RJ; Salmon, J; Staiger, PK; Wakefield, M; Veitch, J
Source TitleInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
AffiliationMelbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsDobbinson, S. J., Simmons, J., Chamberlain, J. A., MacInnis, R. J., Salmon, J., Staiger, P. K., Wakefield, M. & Veitch, J. (2020). Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 17 (17), https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176102.
Access StatusOpen Access
Degraded parks in disadvantaged areas are underutilized for recreation, which may impact long-term health. Using a natural experiment, we examined the effects of local government refurbishments to parks (n = 3 intervention; n = 3 comparison) in low socioeconomic areas (LSEA) of Melbourne on park use, health behavior, social engagement and psychological well-being. Amenities promoting physical activity and sun protection included walking paths, playground equipment and built shade. Outcomes were measured via systematic observations, and self-report surveys of park visitors over three years. The refurbishments significantly increased park use, while shade use increased only in parks with shade sails. A trend for increased social engagement was also detected. Findings infer improvement of quality, number and type of amenities in degraded parks can substantially increase park use in LSEA. Findings support provision of shade over well-designed playgrounds in future park refurbishments to enhance engagement and sun protection behavior. Further research should identify park amenities to increase physical activity.
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